7.6/10
741
3 user 8 critic

Boat People (1982)

Tau ban no hoi (original title)
A Japanese photojournalist revisits Vietnam after the Liberation and learns harsh truths about its regime and its "New Economic Zones".

Director:

Ann Hui

Writer:

Kang Chien Chiu (as Tai An-Ping Yau)
Reviews
6 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Wu Viet is a Vietnamese refugee who wants to leave his country behind and start over in the United States. First, he must make his way to Hong Kong, but as he passes through Thailand, he ... See full summary »

Director: Ann Hui
Stars: Yun-Fat Chow, Cora Miao, Cherie Chung
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

"The Way We Are" tells the story of a hardworking, widowed, single mother (Mrs. Cheung) and her teenage son (Ka-on) living in the troubled housing estate of Tinshuiwai, a suburb regularly featured in the news for all the wrong reasons.

Director: Ann Hui
Stars: Hee Ching Paw, Chun-lung Leung, Cheuk Man Au
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

After the Sino-Japanese War, Kwei Dz, one of the family members of Japanese soldiers accepted a Chinese officer's proposal and remained in China. Later they had a daughter named Ann. The ... See full summary »

Director: Ann Hui
Stars: Maggie Cheung, Siu-Kwong Chung, Tan Lang Jachi Tian
Summer Snow (1995)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

The Suns are a typical Hong Kong family: May, forty something, works for a trading company; her husband, Bing, works as a low-grade civil servant, and Allen, their teenage son, is still at ... See full summary »

Director: Ann Hui
Stars: Josephine Siao, Kar-Ying Law, Allen Ting
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Ordinary Heroes is a 1999 Cantonese-language film directed by Ann Hui. It was co-produced by Hong Kong and China. It concerns social reform activists in Hong Kong. The film's Chinese title ... See full synopsis »

Director: Ann Hui
Stars: Kang-sheng Lee, Anthony Chau-Sang Wong, Kwan-Ho Tse
A Simple Life (2011)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

After suffering a stroke, an altruistic maid announces that she wants to quit her job and move into an old people's home.

Director: Ann Hui
Stars: Andy Lau, Deannie Ip, Hailu Qin
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

In Japanese-occupied Hong Kong, a school teacher and her would-be-fiancé link up with Chinese guerrilla fighters, forging their own path to freedom.

Director: Ann Hui
Stars: Xun Zhou, Eddie Peng, Wallace Huo
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A cynical playboy pursues an introverted divorcee in the decadent Hong Kong on the eve of the Japanese invasion.

Director: Ann Hui
Stars: Yun-Fat Chow, Cora Miao, Gerry Barnett
Action | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Thugs sneak into Hong Kong to rob a jewellery store, killing a cop during their getaway. They plan another heist while hiding from the police hunting them down to avenge their slain comrade.

Director: Johnny Mak
Stars: Jing Chen, Ling Chow, Jian Huang
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Two Chinese-mainlanders living in Hong Kong form a close friendship. Over the years this grows into love, but there are obstacles.

Director: Peter Ho-Sun Chan
Stars: Maggie Cheung, Leon Lai, Eric Tsang
Insiang (1976)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The life of a young girl living with her mother in the slums of Manila becomes unbearable when her mother's young boyfriend moves in with them.

Director: Lino Brocka
Stars: Hilda Koronel, Mona Lisa, Rez Cortez
Night and Fog (2009)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Starts at the end of the story, with the brutal murder by a man of his wife and daughters. Hui gradually unmasks the idyll of the peaceful family and that of Hong Kong as the promised land for gold seekers.

Director: Ann Hui
Stars: Simon Yam, Jingchu Zhang, Ariel Hiu-Man Chan
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
Jianzhou Cai Jianzhou Cai ... Monitor
Tung-Sheng Chang Tung-Sheng Chang ... Doctor
Gamhung Cheung Gamhung Cheung ... Ah Thanh
Shui-Chiu Gan Shui-Chiu Gan
Hengbao Guo Hengbao Guo ... Leader of Team 15
Junyi Guo Junyi Guo ... Van Lang
Jialing Hao Jialing Hao ... Cam Nuong's Mother
Meiying Jia Meiying Jia ... Le Van Quyen
George Lam ... Shiomi Akutagawa
Andy Lau ... To Minh
Shujing Lin Shujing Lin ... Comrade Vu
Tao Lin Tao Lin ... Leader of Team 16
Season Ma Season Ma ... Cam Nuong
Pingmei Meng Pingmei Meng ... Mrs. Pham
Cora Miao ... Nguyen's Mistress
Edit

Storyline

A Japanese reporter arrives in Vietnam hoping to capture the essence the society under the rule of the Communist Party. With the help of a vietnamese girl, he eventually opens his eyes to the painful truth of postwar Vietnam. Written by Cha <cha@hk.super.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R
Edit

Details

Country:

Hong Kong

Release Date:

13 October 1982 (Hong Kong) See more »

Also Known As:

Boat People See more »

Filming Locations:

Hainan, China

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Joyce Chan was first asked to write the screenplay. See more »

Goofs

At the dinner a waiter pours a beer for the journalist with a head of 3-4 cm. After the cut to another angle, only 1 cm is left. See more »

Connections

Remade as The Killing Fields (1984) See more »

Soundtracks

La Vie en Rose
Music by Louiguy
Lyrics by Édith Piaf
Performed by Édith Piaf
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
A well-made and important counterpoint to the canon of 'Vietnam films'
8 December 2008 | by sccovertonSee all my reviews

A Japanese photographer returns to Vietnam three years after documenting its 'liberation' and becomes increasingly involved in the fate of a young girl and her family. It is a time of poverty, violence and death.

There are many deaths in this film and the majority of these deaths are graphically depicted. One of the least explicit, but perhaps the most moving, occurs on a scrap heap surrounded by a body of filthy water. While the young victim's blood is still flowing out, his peer runs the length of the heap bearing a standard, his identity and the colours of the flag rendered anonymous by the remote camera angle and the silhouette produced by the setting sun. The boy lays the flag over the body with a timeliness and purpose that implies he is always ready for such tragedies. It is one of the film's most striking images, calling to mind such questionable iconic images as the flag-raisers of Iwo Jima.

Such readings are possible over much of the film. Director Ann Hui's 'vérité' camera calls to mind Altman's M*A*S*H, as does her treatment of violence and its bloody consequences - something which contrasts with the comic book violence of later 80s Hong Kong films (with which many people are more familiar). Comparisons could also be made with Kubrick's use of zoom (though M*A*S*H has this too) and formal composition, with characters placed in the centre of frame as if being interviewed for live television. Kubrick, of course, would later direct his own Vietnam masterpiece, Full Metal Jacket.

Comparisons could even be made with Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now. Coppola's helicopter sequence filmed in the Philippines shares a lot with Hui's remarkable opening shot of tanks driving through the streets of Hainan, China (both standing in for Vietnam). However, where Coppola tended towards using the imagery of Vietnam to attain a greater artistic goal, Hui would be discredited for receiving any such reading. Where the sound of Coppola's napalm explosions bring a certain excitement and satisfaction to the viewer, the gunshots heralding executions and the chance for children to pillage the corpses has an entirely different motive and effect.

One of the film's strengths is that, while it plays with, even exploits some well-established grammars of film making - tragedy, documentary, romance - it never defers to a single one. The film works on each level equally well. It is a well-told story: excellently paced and genuinely compelling right up to the end credits. At the other end of the spectrum, it is perhaps the boldest and most unflinching criticism of the brutality and hypocrisy of communist states to come out of a small island that would, 17 years later, become a Special Administrative Region of such a state.

The film has elements of curiosity. One can accept for purely practical reasons the need for Cantonese to be the common language of Vietnamese and Japanese characters. It is harder to understand why a Japanese man (played by a local Hong Kong actor) should be the main protagonist, especially considering the film's political overtones. Does he represent objectiveness or irony? Perhaps there is no single answer.

Despite some minor flaws, the film manages to illustrate without preaching, condescending or even aestheticising the subject, even though the dimly-lit tableaux and pitch-perfect editing combine very pleasingly for the eye. Hui works with a lightness of touch rarely seen in Hong Kong or Hollywood at that time or since and with a feminist subtext scarcely seen in her later work. This film well-deserves the acclaim with which it was awarded on its release and is sadly underrated at the time of writing. It serves as an interesting and important counterpoint to the various lavish 'magnum opuses' of American directors of that era and has an enduring relevance and importance that many young people, especially of the film's native land, would benefit from experiencing.


9 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 3 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series



Recently Viewed